By Laman Ismayilova
Ballet art traces back to the Italian Renaissance (XV-XVI
centuries) when it was developed as court entertainment. The dance
quickly spread from Italy to France with the help of Catherine de'
Medici. The court ballet eventually grew in size and opulence.
Even today, ballet dance continues to spark the imagination of
those who are besotted with this beautiful art form.
Maiden Tower was the first ballet ever to be produced in
Azerbaijan and the Muslim East.
Based on the motives of the eponymous poem by a prominent
playwright Jafar Jabbarli, it consists of three acts with a
prologue and epilogue. Afrasiyab Badalbeyli is the author of the
music and libretto.
The premiere took place in 1940 at the Azerbaijan State Academic
Opera and Ballet Theater while the ballet's new version was
presented in 1999.
The new version did not include Soviet propaganda the previous
version did. Yulanda Alikishizada was the author of the new
Madina Aliyeva and Gulaghasi Mirzoyev danced the main parts.
Farhad Badalbeyli was the author of the revised score. Azerbaijan
State Song and Dance Ensemble performed the ballet under the
guidance of Afag Malikova.
The ballet is based on a legend about the Maiden Tower, a
historical landmark, which dates back to the 12th century.
Gamar Almaszada went down in history as the nation's first
The Maiden Tower was composed specifically for Gamar by her
husband, Afrasiyab Badalbeyli. At the age of 25, she performed the
lead role in the ballet. During her career, she successfully toured
France, India, and Nepal.
The emergence and development of Azerbaijani ballet started at
that time. Furthermore, ballets like Gulshan (1950) by Soltan
Hajibayov, Seven Beauties' (1952) by Gara Garayev, Along the
Thundering Ways (1958) by Fikrat Amirov, Nizami (1947), and 1001
Nights'' (1979) by Niyazi, The Legend of Love (1961) by Arif
Malikov and many others made Azerbaijani music recognizable
Ballet dancers Gamar Almaszada, Leyla Vakilova, Alasgar
Abdullayev, Rafiqa Axundova, Magsud Mammadov, Vladimir Pletnev,
Chimnaz Babayeva, Medina Aliyeva, Tatyana Sukhorukova, Zaur
Fatullayev, and others demonstrated Azerbaijani ballet art in all
Today, Azerbaijani ballet continues to grow in scale, drawing
the attention of large audiences. National ballet dancers
successfully perform at some of the world's best opera houses.
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